After a long wait, we are happy to announce the first presentation of the Semantics Group in the Winter term. Grégoire Winterstein (UQAM) will give a talk titled “Bayesian argumentation within language: the case of ‘even’ “.

Abstract: In this talk, I will present some evidence that support the idea that some natural language expressions encode argumentative constraints. Practically, this means that the linguistic form of an utterance matters when evaluating the sort of conclusion the speaker is trying to support in discourse, and how effective their utterance is in providing support for these conclusions. To formalize these argumentative effects, I use a Bayesian approach that gives a probabilistic interpretation to argumentation and assumes that semantic meaning also deals with probabilities. To illustrate, I will discuss the case of scalar additive elements such as English “even” that have been analyzed as conveying the argumentative superiority of their prejacent compared to their antecedent. I argue against such an analysis, but still maintain that their semantics is argumentative.

As usual, the meeting will take place in Room 117 starting at 3:00pm. All are welcome to attend!